OC DA Spitzer slams Gascón for ruling out death penalty against alleged cop killer

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer released a statement in response to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón's announcement of charges in the killing of LA County Sheriff's Department deputy, who was slain in Palmdale on Saturday, Sept. 16.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 20, Gascón announced that he would seek the "maximum penalty allowable under the law" for Kevin Salazar, the man suspected of killing Clinkunbroomer. Gascón, who charged Salazar with one count of murder, vowed to seek "life without the possibility of parole" during Wednesday's press conference.

Spitzer said that Gascón's statement was a "lie," in his response posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday, Sept. 21.

"The death penalty still exists in California - no matter how much George Gascón and Gov. Gavin Newsom want to pretend it doesn't," said Spitzer in his statement. "In fact, California law allows the death penalty to be sought if a police officer is murdered."

The OC district attorney went on to say that Gascón had already decided that "the deputy's death wasn't worth going through the special circumstances analysis," a process by which officials decide whether a suspect should receive the death penalty or life without parole.

By doing so, Spitzer said that Gascón "cares about sparing the life of the executioner," more than the "newly engaged lawman" who was left "bleeding to death behind the steering wheel."

Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was shot and killed Saturday, Sept. 16, after a vehicle approached his patrol car near the Palmdale Station, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

Surveillance video from the scene appeared to show a black vehicle pull up alongside the patrol car. No shots are visible, but the car is seen speeding away while the deputy's cruiser rolls slightly forward before coming to a stop.

After a good Samaritan found Clinkunbroomer unconscious in his patrol car, he was rushed to Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, where he later died.

The suspect, later identified as Salazar, was arrested Monday morning after a standoff with authorities at the home he shared with his family in Palmdale, according to authorities.

"While law enforcement officers across the nation grieve the loss of yet another officer murdered in the line of duty," said Spitzer, "They too must cope with the knowledge that justice for the men and women behind the badge is nowhere to be found the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice - as long as George Gascón is the district attorney."